Why is Christmas such a demanding time? Why do people make those last minute trips to get home? Why must me spend time and money getting gifts for our loved ones? Because they are our loved ones. Christmas season is one time the whole world chooses to be happy and show love to loved ones. It's the only time in the year some see their family members in this very busy world. You can choose to go with the excitement and be exhausted or do nothing so you are less stressed but alone.
The list is unending, hopefully you have decorated the house and the tree by now, you still haven't wrapped the gifts, the children are understandably expectant. Many questions on your mind... have you bought the turkey? Will it fit into your oven? Should you include more chicken just incase you have more guests over? Making Christmas as exciting as it should be is tiring and sometimes one wonders why we must even bother but the joy of doing things for people and sharing things with others cannot be measured. The contentment you get when you see loved ones playing, laughing or even fighting together is rewarding enough. To make it happen, there's a lot to do. A lot of planning and convincing... yes, you may have to convince some family members to come over. It's unbelievable but true.
Here are things to consider.
Cook the favourite dishes of everyone coming, this way you give them no reason to regret coming and they will feel special. Choose buffet style and have a display of their favourites. From experience, rice works as the main dish so this make it easier. Some people prefer soups with swallow - garri, pounded yam, amala, starch, fufu etc. Every other dish can be in smaller portions. Chicken, turkey, fish and goat and cow meat are very popular in most homes. If it's possible, let everyone get involved in barbeque, roasting, frying, baking, seasoning, cooking and setting up of the dining table - that's where the fun is. Outsourcing everything is easier but less fun but see what works for you. It's advisable to buy stuff earlier in the month and store appropriately but if storage is a challenge (like having electricity), book early so you can eve some money and have it picked up on Christmas eve.
Stock up your drinks and just like the food, buy the favourites of everyone coming if you still remember. Provide what they might need for cocktails or mocktails if possible. Let people be free to do what they like at home as long as it is not harmful or a bad example for younger ones. Let them catch up with friends and allow them to bring their friends over so they dont disappear on you. Do your last minute checks like ensuring your gas cylinder is not empty, your oven or barbeque stand is working etc.
Some say it's not necessary but it's advisable to have a Christmas cake. Get the people interested in baking and have it baked and decorated freestyle... it doesn't have to look perfect. If nobody is interested in baking, have it ordered. People snack a lot this season so have their favourite snacks available - chin chin, cookies, cakes, groundnut, fruits, pof pof, doughnuts and other finger food.
The real secret is to make everyone relaxed, happy and loved. It takes a lot but if you are the host, you have to try. Make the house ready for them, clean up and stock up and they will be fine. If you don't have enough hands, prioritze and delegate to the right person, no fault-finding allowed. Make them feel at home and they will treasure it forever.
On that day, when everyone gathers and there is laughter and singing, when one person steals another person's chicken or they are chasing each other because they can, it all comes together. There is love, joy and peace. there are hugs and kisses, forgiveness and healing. There are memories of childhood days... with daddy or mummy or grandpa or grandma or some mischievious person who may or not be alive. we realise, we are all connected, the bond and the relationship is worth fighting for. This is Christmas, this is why.